Being a sport: McDonough and KornheiserNational Journal

Hangin' With Mr. Tony

In the final days before the deadline to sign up for health care coverage (which was then extended), the White House left little doubt that young sports fans were their main target as they mounted a full-court press on sports-oriented shows. That meant Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant championing the cause on ESPN's Mike and Mike. And, it meant White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough spending 13 minutes on the Tony Kornheiser Show on D.C.'s ESPN 980, a program very popular locally and with a broader audience nationally thanks to podcasts. The hope was for some of the success President Obama had after appearing on Zach Galifianakis's satirical webseries Between Two Ferns on March 11. McDonough told Kornheiser that appearance led to 18 million views and 80,000 clicks directly on HealthCare.gov. And McDonough came armed with sports-injury facts, telling the host the most common basketball injury is a sprained ankle: "$3,000 is the average cost of a sprained ankle. If you blow out your knee, $13,000 out of your pocket." But McDonough may not have been prepared for Kornheiser's non-sports questions. He pressed the chief of staff to say whether he has stolen anything from the White House. "There is a bunch of stuff that I've stolen. But I'm not going to tell you on the phone right now just what that is," joked McDonough. 

George E. Condon Jr.

 

Pot Luck

The new George Washington University Battleground Poll suggests voters would be overwhelmingly more likely to go to the polls if they could vote on a ballot measure to legalize marijuana, something turnout-challenged Democrats should keep in mind as the midterms approach. At least six states are expected to have marijuana questions on the ballot this year. Colorado and Washington, which each had a referendum to legalize the drug on the ballot in 2012, saw the youth share of the vote jump between 5 and 12 percentage points that year over 2008, even as it increased only marginally nationwide. The poll of likely voters asked how much more or less likely they would be to go to the polls "if there was a proposal on the ballot to legalize the use of marijuana." The top response: "Much more likely," an option selected by 39 percent of respondents. The next most popular choice was "somewhat more likely," which garnered 30 percent. "These numbers provide even more evidence that marijuana reform is a mainstream issue and that smart politicians would do well to start treating it as such," says Tom Angell, the founder of the pro-legalization group Marijuana Majority. Of course, some of those who are eager to vote on pot may be keen to cast a ballot against legal weed. 

Alex Seitz-Wald

 

Murmurs

Snow Going The story of Washington's snowy owl, which turned from delightful to depressing when the bird was hit by a bus in January, is nearing a happy ending. The owl, whose location has remained under wraps since its accident, arrived this week at a Minnesota facility with an "international reputation for replacing damaged feathers." It appears that the bird's journey south wreaked more havoc on its feathers than the bus did, and veterinarians are working to replace them so the owl can fly again. The prognosis is good, and the owl will eventually be released into the wild — and far, far away from here.

Odd Ball Astronomers have discovered a possible dwarf planet: a cold, relatively tiny lump of ice traveling near the barrier where the sun loses all its gravitational influence. The planet — 280 miles in diameter — is roughly the size of Wisconsin, but it may give scientists clues to the origins of the solar system. More important, the scientists gave the planet a nickname, and that name is "Biden." 

"The newfound object's official name is 2012 VP113, but the discovery team calls it VP for short, or just 'Biden,' " Nature reported. It will be some time before the dwarf planet gets an official name, if it ever does. But it won't be "Biden." According to the International Astronomical Union, "Names for persons or events known primarily for their military or political activities are acceptable only after 100 years elapsed since the person died or the event occurred."

Hangin' With Mr. Tony

In the final days before the deadline to sign up for health care coverage (which was then extended), the White House left little doubt that young sports fans were their main target as they mounted a full-court press on sports-oriented shows. That meant Magic Johnson and Kobe Bryant championing the cause on ESPN's Mike and Mike. And, it meant White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough spending 13 minutes on the Tony Kornheiser Show on D.C.'s ESPN 980, a program very popular locally and with a broader audience nationally thanks to podcasts. The hope was for some of the success President Obama had after appearing on Zach Galifianakis's satirical webseries Between Two Ferns on March 11. McDonough told Kornheiser that appearance led to 18 million views and 80,000 clicks directly on HealthCare.gov. And McDonough came armed with sports-injury facts, telling the host the most common basketball injury is a sprained ankle: "$3,000 is the average cost of a sprained ankle. If you blow out your knee, $13,000 out of your pocket." But McDonough may not have been prepared for Kornheiser's non-sports questions. He pressed the chief of staff to say whether he has stolen anything from the White House. "There is a bunch of stuff that I've stolen. But I'm not going to tell you on the phone right now just what that is," joked McDonough. 

George E. Condon Jr.

 

Pot Luck

The new George Washington University Battleground Poll suggests voters would be overwhelmingly more likely to go to the polls if they could vote on a ballot measure to legalize marijuana, something turnout-challenged Democrats should keep in mind as the midterms approach. At least six states are expected to have marijuana questions on the ballot this year. Colorado and Washington, which each had a referendum to legalize the drug on the ballot in 2012, saw the youth share of the vote jump between 5 and 12 percentage points that year over 2008, even as it increased only marginally nationwide. The poll of likely voters asked how much more or less likely they would be to go to the polls "if there was a proposal on the ballot to legalize the use of marijuana." The top response: "Much more likely," an option selected by 39 percent of respondents. The next most popular choice was "somewhat more likely," which garnered 30 percent. "These numbers provide even more evidence that marijuana reform is a mainstream issue and that smart politicians would do well to start treating it as such," says Tom Angell, the founder of the pro-legalization group Marijuana Majority. Of course, some of those who are eager to vote on pot may be keen to cast a ballot against legal weed. 

Alex Seitz-Wald

 

Murmurs

Snow Going The story of Washington's snowy owl, which turned from delightful to depressing when the bird was hit by a bus in January, is nearing a happy ending. The owl, whose location has remained under wraps since its accident, arrived this week at a Minnesota facility with an "international reputation for replacing damaged feathers." It appears that the bird's journey south wreaked more havoc on its feathers than the bus did, and veterinarians are working to replace them so the owl can fly again. The prognosis is good, and the owl will eventually be released into the wild — and far, far away from here.

Odd Ball Astronomers have discovered a possible dwarf planet: a cold, relatively tiny lump of ice traveling near the barrier where the sun loses all its gravitational influence. The planet — 280 miles in diameter — is roughly the size of Wisconsin, but it may give scientists clues to the origins of the solar system. More important, the scientists gave the planet a nickname, and that name is "Biden." 

"The newfound object's official name is 2012 VP113, but the discovery team calls it VP for short, or just 'Biden,' " Nature reported. It will be some time before the dwarf planet gets an official name, if it ever does. But it won't be "Biden." According to the International Astronomical Union, "Names for persons or events known primarily for their military or political activities are acceptable only after 100 years elapsed since the person died or the event occurred."

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